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We have a pivotal fight in the Middleweight division, as the twelfth ranked Nassourdine Imavov takes on Joaquin Buckley. Returning to the octagon for the first time in 2022, Imavov will look to build off a two-fight win streak. Having not fought on home soil since 2016, Imavov enters his biggest fight with France in his corner. Meanwhile, Buckley will attempt to play spoiler. A winner of three-straight, Buckley has earned an opportunity to knock off a ranked foe and finally crack the divisions top fifteen.
Although a surprise to see this fight on the preliminary card, these two Middleweight’s could gift us with an early contender for ‘Fight of the Night’. Buckley, a striker by trade, has won eleven of his fifteen wins via knockout. Of recent though, Buckley has shown a new wrinkle in his game. Landing five takedowns against Abdul Razak Alhassan, Buckley has been attempting to round out his game. However, against Imavov, I’m not certain Buckley’s wrestling is good enough to neutralize the Frenchman. On the feet, Buckley has the obvious power edge, but he’s not nearly as accurate nor active as Imavov. In fact, Imavov’s significant strike accuracy is 24% higher than Buckley. A staggering difference, which has me leaning towards Imavov in this fight. So with that said, I predict that Imavov wins via TKO.